by Christine Sine
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust
Over the last few weeks Tom and I have had a steady stream of visitors. First Tom’s niece visited from New York, then my nephew from Australia. We only had a couple of days of respite before friends arrived from Australia, New Zealand and Canada to join the celebrations revolving around the launch of Tom’s new book Live Like You Give a Damn. We laughed together, prayed together and celebrated life together, renewing our friendships and strengthening our faith.
I love this richly diverse global culture of which I am a part and learn so much from my interactions with those around me.
We all need community. Tom and I live in a small intentional community in Seattle. We inhabit the middle floor of a triplex with a family in the apartment above and three singles in the basement apartment below. We share meals at least once a week, and garden together once a month. We love hospitality and enjoy entertaining guests from around the world.
Friends, family and even strangers root me more deeply into my faith, stretch my boundaries and help me to grapple with life’s challenges. They help me to see life, God’s world and my faith with fresh eyes
What is your response?
Sit quietly for a few minutes and think about God’s wonderfully diverse global community of which you are a part. Remind yourself of the friends and family who form your community. Now think about people of other cultures and faiths who have impacted your life. Thank God for the richness of your faith that has grown through the witness of others. What opportunities continue to provide meaningful interaction not just with friends but also with people of other faiths and cultures?
Early Christians believed that God comes to us in community—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—a perfect harmony of relationship. They reasoned that since the essential nature of God is love, and because it is impossible to practice love in isolation, God the Trinity must be a model of perfect community. To become a disciple meant to be drawn into this community of mutual love and perfect relationship—not alone, but as part of God’s family with sisters and brothers from every tribe and nation, with the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the sick, the lonely, the disabled, the homeless, the marginalized, and the abandoned.
I grew up in a diversity of cultures. My father was Greek, my mother Scottish, my country Australia. As a young doctor, I moved to New Zealand and then to the mercy ship Anastasis and finally after Tom and I were married, settled in Seattle in the U.S.
My faith has been shaped, reshaped and renewed by the diversity of my friends and colleagues. And I don’t even need to travel or have others come to visit to experience this diversity. It is all around me. Our local community is richly diverse. There is a Muslim mosque less than a mile away, homeless people on our corners, retirement communities and yuppy villages.
All of these cultures provide rich learning experiences. But sometimes that journey across the street is harder than the one around the world. I make time for our international visitors but find it harder to take time for my neighbours. I am not always ready to have my mind stretched and my horizons broadened.
What is your response?
Sit and think about the phrase “God comes to us in community”. Repeat it several times. Watch the video below then close your eyes and sit in silence for a few minutes. What images come to mind? In what ways do your friendships reflect God’s community? What steps might God be prompting you to take to enrich that experience?